So many Introverts (and for that matter Extraverts) wake up while on the job only to discover they lost their career somewhere along the line.
Where did it go? Is this you?
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of working and just life itself. Even though you may have ambitions for your career, with the swirl around you, you may have lost track. Next thing you know, you realize you’re stalled out – or worse.
There’s a three-step process for curing the lost career:
1- Be clear on your next step and what it takes to get there
2- Know exactly where you stand right now
3- Make a plan to work on the differences
Be clear on your next step and what it takes to get there
Strangely enough, many people don’t give much thought to specifically where they are headed. When asked, you get vague answers like “Up” or “Promoted to the next level”. It’s understandable to be vague about where you want your career to go in 5 or 10 years but you should be very clear about the next year or two. It’s hard to keep track of your career if you really don’t know where you’re headed.
What to do
Spend some time identifying the next position you want to be in. Speak with people who not only do that job right now but also the people who make the hiring decisions. You want to have a complete picture of both the responsibilities as well as the skills or experience you have to have to do that job – AND to be competitive for that job when the time comes. This will help you form all of the specifics you need for step 3 in this process. Now you know exactly what you’re aiming for.
Know exactly where you stand right now
You need to have an ongoing picture of your performance and skills. Some companies are very good at holding these conversations with their employees but most don’t. If you don’t know how well you are performing or what skills you have (that others believe you have), then you have only a cryptic idea of what you need to do to get to your career objective.
What to do
Don’t wait for the bosses to take it upon themselves to tell you what your performance and skills are. Ask. This is your responsibility and if you haven’t had many or any conversations about this, you need to ask to be appraised. While you’re at it, you should also appraise yourself. It’s important for you to match up your opinion with theirs so you can discuss any differences. These performance conversations can be tough to do and tougher to listen to, even if they think you’re great. Go into this activity open to hearing what is being said and stay professional.
Make a plan to work on the differences
Actions matter but the wrong actions are a big waste of time – not to mention disappointment. All too often people don’t do the first two steps before setting out on a path to beef up their skills. Unfortunately, there are tons of examples of people who spent time and money on classes (or other things for skill building) only to find out, it didn’t matter. This can be avoided if you follow these 3 steps.
What to do
This is your growth and development plan. You now know what it takes to get the job you aspire to and you’ve got a good idea of how developed you currently are. Armed with that knowledge, you can figure out all the various ways you can develop your needed skills. This is a great place to engage your boss or mentor for support as they may be able to give you projects or assignments to build the skills you are lacking.
It’s hard to lose track of your career when you have laser focus on where you’re going and how you will get there.
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